Thandeka Matebesi, Sunday News Reporter
MANY people believe traditional healers commonly referred to as izinyanga or osiwalu posses some super-natural powers to control our daily lives and even predict the future.
In fact, many people from politicians to the ordinary person visit the traditional healers especially under the cover of darkness to seek divine power.
The rumour mill is awash with stories of politicians who are said to have sought the services of these powerful people so that they could win the just ended harmonised elections. But in search of the divine power to win an election, the worst nightmare any candidate can dream of is to discover that they are facing an inyanga as an opponent, the same person who is supposed to give you the umuthi to win.
If it was a sport, this could be easily described as a non-contest. It is like a player plying his trade in an amateur soccer league in Africa thrown in to mark Lionel Messi or Ronaldo. But can that explain the political scenario that played out in Tsholotsho South during this year’s harmonised elections.
One of the candidates in fact the incumbent, Cde Zenzo Sibanda is a registered traditional healer. Of course, he went on to retain his seat and in such a case you can not discount the talk that maybe his background as an inyanga could have played to his advantage, especially in an African set-up which believes that such things still exist. Cde Sibanda polled 8 203 votes to beat 10 other contestants for the seat.
However, like in any contest, winners are always humble and want to measure their success to nothing else except the rules of the game.
“I don’t believe being a traditional healer contributed to my success because I know many people who lost in the elections even with their spirits. I am a hard worker who is always trying to improve and become the best I can be. That is why I am currently pursuing a degree in Development Studies with the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU).
“I won because I am a strategist, the MDC Alliance grouping had fielded two candidates and there were other opposition parties so I was at an advantage. I am also popular with the people of Tsholotsho South whom I have served diligently as MP for five years,” said Cde Sibanda.
He acknowledged that some people might think he used umuthi but that was not the case.
“I know people who want to soil my name say I use umuthi to succeed but they forget that it is not my first time to campaign and win the elections when others have been losing. One can only succeed through hard work,” said Cde Sibanda.
To show that it was not about umuthi, Cde Sibanda said he has already rolled out his five-year development plan aimed at shaping positive change in the constituency.
“I have a five-year development plan considering that this is a new political dispensation, where we will be delivering what we promised during the campaign period. First and foremost, I am engaging Zesa to connect areas such as Tshefunye and Mbamba. I also hope to build science laboratories and increase teachers for science subjects in schools in my constituency so that pupils may have a full appreciation of science. Tsholotsho has not benefited much from the Government-initiated Command Livestock scheme so I am working towards that,” he said. Cde Sibanda said people in the constituency have faith in his work and that is why they have re-elected him.
“I was representing Tsholotsho South for the past five years and being re-elected means people trust that I can bring more change to the constituency and they have given me the power to do so.”